Overcoming the barriers to using social media for business

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As I network with other businesses and discuss social media, I hear the same comments from potential customers. It usually goes something like ‘Oh yea, I need to do my twittering or I need to find some time for that’. The main thing I hear is that businesses realise the need to organise their social media and engage with their customers. I have been investigating the barriers and the major ones are time, ROI and knowing what to say.

Time
Time is precious with any business. Depending on how organised you are, you still need to find time to plan your time. You may get by with a simple ‘to do list’ but it’s important to look beyond that and manage time as effective as possible.

Some tasks can actually be labelled as projects, which are ongoing and can be broken down into manageable tasks. Social media management is definitely a project and it’s useful to have a checklist to review each day. For example:

1. Like and respond to content on Facebook. Schedule a post to appear at optimum time for your customers.
2. Schedule one tweet to share an interesting article, one tweet about one of your products and one retweet for an affiliate.
3. Pin engaging images on Pinterest and link to your website.

The important aspect of this task is to work out how much time it will take for you to complete this. Be realistic and make time in your busy schedule to do this. As you get into it, you should find that you don’t need to spend as much time. Alternatively, outsource the work to a Digital Marketing Consultant.

Return on Investment (ROI)

A business plan consists of lots of elements that focus on ROI. Every business needs to be clear on why money spent on an activity was worthwhile and social media like advertising is a major part.

One of the sticking points for a business mind is that lots of likes on Facebook, for example, do not necessary lead to or reflect on an increase in sales. Social media is a slow and steady progression. It gradually builds followers and sows the seeds with the target audience so they will recommend the business to their friends and others. The focus should be on benefiting from the power of friend influence.

One way of looking at a Facebook campaign is that you would be happy to spend £1 per like, as an investment in a customer for their future engagement with your page. Every time they engage with the page, whether liking a post, commenting or tagging themselves in a photo, their friends are made aware of this. This can lead to the snowball effect of them liking the page and so on. Therefore, if you run a campaign that costs £100 for a month’s advertising with Facebook, if the page has achieved a 100 or more likes then you have got your ROI.

What to say?

You may find it easy to get set up on social media and share interesting content but what happens when you find you have discussed everything and there is nothing new? A good place to start is to review which previous posts worked well, i.e. videos, photos, blog posts. Then focusing on sharing similar content.

It is better to keep banging the drum about your products, rather than say nothing at all, as you may reach someone new each time. However, running a competition is a great way to encourage your customers to create the content for you and lead to more followers.

Focus on telling interesting stories about every aspect of your business and invite your audience to participate.
Contact Social Ant for more information and guidance.

Jon Exton

www.socialant.co.uk

Twitter: @thesocialant

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